Get Rid of Calculus in High School?

James Makarian, SnapLogic CTO, thinks high school calculus is overrated; he’d rather see statistics and computer science get the emphasis.

I agree: don’t teach calculus in senior high school.  Push it down into freshman/late junior high classes.  Then do computer science and statistics in close sequence behind the calc course.  It’s not possible to do more than (badly) cookbook statistics without the underlying arithmetic.  And cookbooking something as serious as statistics means the related research will be badly done more often than not or badly understood by those reading the research.

Lack of underlying arithmetic also will limit computer “science” to work that doesn’t involve arithmetic: first tier tech support where all the junior rep can do is run through a checklist whose steps may or may not address the confused problem description coming to him over the phone.  Actual computer or related development won’t be possible.

And this: the thinking style and rigor associated with learning calculus has its own value wholly independent of whether the high/jr high schooler would ever do arithmetic as he pursues his non-STEM college studies and career.

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